Sunday, May 6, 2012

The end of a quest

Looking back at me blogs from this semester has definitely been strange. Reading the first ones I realize not only how much I’ve changed and grown in my life, but also in a semester. I think it comes with practice and a narrowing of focus to decide what I should write about.

One of the things that definitely improved my writing and analysis was that I started to bring in more things from outside the class and even finding the connections of things from the class. Instead of just reading and connecting the stories of that week, by the end we could connect stories from that week with stories from other weeks.

Having the guest speakers definitely helped with that aspect of the course. I found myself paying more attention to the guest speakers and also thinking more about what they said, especially as many of them mentioned something about literature that was not written down, something that we said was a contradiction earlier in the semester. My blogs from speakers such as Dr. Rust, Dr. O, and Dr. Mian were all much better and better thought out than my other blogs. It was probably the fact that the stories and traditions of these cultures are so much more interactive and audience-engaging than the other ones we read, especially as some encouraged behavior that would help you survive while still fitting in versus the strict civilité lessons of the tales from Western writers.

 It’s almost hard to believe that we learned where so many stories began, learned some of the background information for them, and learned about ones from so many different cultures. The history lessons that we got for some such as the parallels between Germany and France in Little Red Riding Hood were really interesting. I really enjoyed most of the stories, even if I didn’t always enjoy the perspectives from which we were analyzing them, especially when the analysis got sexual, but a lot of that was due to my classmates finding it humorous and running with the idea for every single story even if it didn’t fit. I also enjoyed examining differences in how tales are even written such as The Lady and the Tiger and Bluebeard’s Egg which were modernized versions of fairy tales that were much deeper with flushed out characters than the tales they were based on. Learning how to characterize these different characters and others such as Snow White versus her evil queen was also quite interesting.

I’m still not a huge fan of the psychoanalysis, but I can definitely understand how some people might find it useful for therapy, whether it is the writers or the readers. There are too many stories where too many great things happen for readers to not identify with the characters. Even if you don’t need it as therapeutic you still probably want to be a character for one reason or another, especially if you are a child. I know I constantly wanted to be a princess, although perhaps one of the Disney-tized ones and not one of the originals, I’d rather not have to suffer some truly, truly horrible things before my happy ending.

My enjoyment of certain things versus other probably had to do with the difficulty level of the class for me. It was not very hard to read and think and connect certain things, however, it was at times difficult to make the connections and analyses that I simply did not wish to make. That has more to deal with my personality than my ability to read and think critically though. Sometimes it would have been interesting to have been more challenged, but I don’t really know how one would do that short of having to share a selection of fairy tales or perform an accurate version that combines many of the different types into one tale. There were definitely some weeks where I spent more time reading the tales than I did in other weeks, but that was mostly based on how the readings were set up. Some of the ones on Blackboard were difficult to read visually on my screen, and that’s how I prefer to do it. If I had changed that it might not have been so bad. The different kinds of stories also changed how much attention I paid to them while reading. I spent much more time on the classics or more mystical ones than I did on those that were more realistic with small tricksters. I prefer big fantasy to short mostly-realistic. Either way I enjoyed reading fairy tales for a class and definitely learned more tales than I thought I would. Learning where they came from and the originals was one of my goals, and that was definitely accomplished along with some extra information that made them more meaningful.

And with this I have completed the majority of my fairy tale tasks; all that stands in my way of finishing my quest is a final. I will use my magical helpers of notes and tales to study and will vanquish the evil final. With that I must say

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